CD Reviews

Threshold - 'March Of Progress' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 29, 2012    
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Absolutely brilliant.

Like many I was surprised when Andrew ‘Mac’ McDermott first left Threshold after the bands most successful release ‘Dead Reckoning’ and then truly saddened by his tragic passing on 3rd August 2011. I also thought that this might stop the band in its tracks but not so. Firstly original Threshold vocalist Damian Wilson was asked to help out and then news started to filter through that the band were once again working together on a new studio album some five years after the release of ‘Dead Reckoning’.

Now this for me threw up a lot of questions because the Wilson era Threshold was (imo) a very different band to the Mac one. Threshold with Mac had a more commercial edge to their music and I wondered how the band would write for the returning Mr Wilson and would they be able to incorporate his vocal style into the bands newer sound? On playing ‘March Of Progress’ I have to say all my fears have been allayed. Threshold with Damian Wilson back at the helm have recorded an album that marries both of the bands eras with ease and this then carries the group on into a bright future.

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On average each song clocks in at about the seven minute mark yet none of the tracks ever feel like they are hanging around too long; indeed, each time I played this release I found myself reaching for the replay button as soon as it finished playing - why? Well take a song like opener ‘Ashes’ a real prog masterpiece that has all the hooks you could want and the musicianship you have come to expect from Britain’s finest. ‘The Hours’ is a song that will become a Threshold classic, a big melodic riff is joined with a big melodic chorus and a sublime vocal delivered by Damian Wilson elevates this song way above the also rans and it begs you to play it over and over again. Then there’s ‘Colophon’ which starts with an almost Rush-like bass line that weaves in and out of a complex guitar and keyboard melody, that is then topped off by a dramatic Wilson vocal. ‘That’s Why We Came’ is a big ballad, with a guitar solo to die for and some excellent drum work from Karl Groom and Johanne James respectively. ‘Coda’ continues the excellence, tightly wound and edgy the song builds over it’s five minutes to an exciting crescendo. As often the case, Threshold leave the best ‘til last… ‘Rubicon’ is ten minutes of epic progressive metal, metal that has more melody than your average AOR track, metal that draws you into the songs inner workings and never lets go until long after it has finished playing.

‘March Of Progress’ is a total triumph. In equal parts classy, thoughtful, emotive and intelligent, Threshold’s best? Well that’s for you to decide but I would say that it has the potential to be just that. Simply stated – absolutely brilliant.

Ian Johnson

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